All posts by Madiha Farrukh

Lavona Inn Hotel, Jubail Review

If you are planning a trip to Jubail and looking for one of the best hotels in Jubail, I would highly recommend Lavona Inn, if you are on a budget. A couple of weeks before, we enjoyed our stay there and it was a great experience. We made our bookings through Booking.com after seeing good reviews online. The rating of this hotel is 9.2, sound pretty nice!!! The cost was  212 SAR per day inclusive of all taxes and breakfast. Continue reading

WSB, Women Skills Bureau Event in Riyadh 2018

Hey ladies, Yesterday I got a chance to attend Women Skills Bureau event in California Resort, Riyadh. Women Skills Bureau, known as WSB is a platform that provides opportunities to inspire and empower women coming of all nationalities in Riyadh. WSB provides career guidance, tools and skills to empower women so that they can excel in their respective career choices. Continue reading

Review: Mukaram Umul Qura Hotel Makkah

This time for our stay in Makkah we chose Makaram umul Qura hotel in Makkah as we went there for Umrah. It was recommended by a friend. It is located on Ajyad street. We booked this hotel from Booking.com. It has 7.5 rating on Booking.com and after watching pictures online, it looked pretty nice. When you enter the hotel, it has this spacious feel to it. It looks very neat and tidy. Continue reading

Sultan Gardens: Looking for plants! Anyone?

If you are looking for buying plants and thinking about decorating your garden or patio, Sultan Gardens is a beautiful place to pay a visit. By road side you must have seen so many nurseries that sell different types of indoor and outdoor plants which are pretty nice but Sultan Gardens is a place that offers much more. You can find outdoor decorating furniture, indoor and outdoor plants, big flowing fountains, huge vases, pots and so much cool stuff that can help you decorate your gardens, lounges and hallways. Continue reading

Uber - Online Taxi Service

Uber: Cheap but excellent Taxi service in KSA

Many of you might not be aware that there is an excellent taxi service working in KSA which is not only budget friendly but also a very convenient service to travel in city and it is called UBER. It is an application that you can download for Android & Apple smart phones. From the app one can order a ride sitting at home with convince & ease. Continue reading

09Apr/17

Amazing Sale at Boots

Few days back, I heard about the biggest sale of the year on Boots. They are offering some exciting discounts of 25% to 75% off which are absolutely mind blowing. Boots is usually famous for their No 7 products but they also have many other cosmetics brands like Maybelline, Revlon, Rimmel, Ted Baker etc. under the same umbrella. Boots has their own products too like moisturizers, scrubs and other body products which are mostly made in England. Continue reading

25Oct/16

Middle Eastern cuisine at Al Majlis Al Khaleeji Restaurant

Living in Saudi Arabia for so many years and still if you have not tried the local food then you are really missing on to something tasty. On Eid ul Fitr as our family gathered so we decided to give a taste to local cuisine of Middle East. Although living in kingdom we have eaten the famous ‘Shawaya’ many times but it does not truly speaks of the local cuisine. So after surfing on internet and recommendation from few Arabic friends, we decided to visit Majlis al Khaleeji, located on Imam Saud Road, near exit 9. Continue reading

24Oct/16

Ranosh: Juicy Corner

Summer is all about drinks and juices and especially in Kingdom where temperature gets so high and scorching heat outside makes you always looking for some nice drinks to boost up the energy levels. Ranosh is one of the best juice spots in Riyadh. You can find Ranosh at many drive ways for take outs or you can go to its branch on Imam Saud Road near exit 9. Continue reading

Etimad Pakistan – KSA new Visa Fee

MANDATORY MEDICAL INSURANCE

As mandated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saudi Arabia, all Applicants travelling to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are required to obtain a Council of Cooperative Health Insurance (CCHI) approved Medical Insurance Certificate from the Visa Application Centre.

The cost of the insurance is generated upon receiving the application and has to be paid at the time of the appointment.

As the news of new visa fee structure was circulating the Saudi media & expatriate community for quite some time now. Today, on 2nd October 2016, affecting immediately, the fees has been applied. Etimad Pakistan, company dealing with stamping of visa, has updated the new fee structure on their website. As so many Pakistani settled in Saudi Arabia, call their loved ones to kingdom on visit visas each year, so this news of increase in visa fee is substantially important for the audience.

As it was stated that 1st Muharram i.e. 2nd October, 2016 will be the starting date of application of new visa fees, so as the first thing in morning, I turned towards Etimad Pakistan website to check the status and I found this:

So, from now on for Family visit visa (for each person), you will have to pay 62,921 PKR (Pakistani Rupees) for a normal package and 67,680 PKR for a lounge package. Earlier the normal stamping cost was 10,000 PKR and 15,000 PKR for lounge package. The visa fee applicable to both packages for family visit will be 58,600 PKR which is almost 10 times of the previous fee (5,870 PKR).

IMPORTANT NOTICE- In effect from 01 Muharram, 1438 corresponding to 02 October, 2016. As per the instructions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, invitation letters dated prior to Sunday, 02 October 2016 will not be accepted for processing new visa requests. Travelers are requested to obtain a new invitation letter to process their applications. Invitation letter is mandatory for application processing.

Following are the highlights of the applied changes related to visa for KSA:

  • One time entry visa fee now is SAR 2000 (excluding the stamping charges). KSA government will bear this cost for the people that are performing Hajj or Umrah for the first time. For the second time people performing Hajj or Umrah SAR 2000 will be charges as visa fee (excluding the stamping fee)
  • The exit/re-entry visa fees is:
    • SAR 200 for a single trip for a maximum of two months and additional SAR100 for each month.
    • SAR 500 for multiple trips for maximum three months and additional SAR 200 for each month.
  • Multiple exit/re-entry visa fees:
    • SAR 3000 for the six-month visa
    • SAR 5000 for the one-year visa
    • SAR 8000 for the two-year visa

Visa applications submitted from 17th October, 2106 will have to get a Medical Insurance Certificate from Visa Application Center i.e. Etimad Office. Earlier it was said that the fee for medical insurance will be USD 254 (approximately 1000 SAR). But our reader Mr. Usman Sheikh has confirmed that he had paid 3,500 PKR (approximately 125 SAR) for medical insurance.

Complete detail of medical Insurance can be found in this VisaTermsAndConditions document.

Etimad – Medical Insurance Benefits

One of our reader Mr. Nauman inquired from Etimad regarding the medical insurance fee and following is their reply:

Dear Sir,

Insurance fee calculation is on daily base offering rate, age of applicant, time span of visa and other factors. We cannot give an exact amount, it can be between 6,000 to 30,000 PKR per passport.

Regards Etimad Team.

Please note, no other medical insurance certificate will be acceptable.

etimad-health-insurance

 

Booking.com

King Abdullah Park

Riyadh is a place where you need to put your great efforts to explore the places where you can spend quality time with your family and friends except the boundaries of luxurious malls. People usually get very few places in Riyadh where they can find themselves closer to nature and inhale quality oxygen. Lately after search on internet, we explored the Park named King Abdullah Park in Malaz Area and it turned out to be one of the best finds for open area in the kingdom. Continue reading

08Jun/16
Baith Al Farouj

Best broasted chicken in Riyadh: Bait ul Farooj

Few days back we heard about Bait al Farooj, a famous broasted chicken place in Riyadh and decided to give it a try. Bait al Farooj is a very nice small restaurant located on intersection of Imam Saud road & King Abdul Aziz road. When you enter the restaurant, the environment looks very neat and tidy. You won’t find the restaurant empty ever as it is known as one of the best broasted points in Riyadh. You have to line up and wait for your turn to place order. Continue reading

31May/16

Riyadh Zoo

In the kingdom usually people think that there are very few places outdoor where people can enjoy but it’s actually not true. If you hunt in right direction, you will find some exciting places to go to and Riyadh Zoo is one of them. Some days back, we planned a trip to Riyadh Zoo and it turned out quite nice except for the sunlight that may bother you if you are visiting during the summer. Continue reading

23May/16

Dinner at Spices Village Restaurant

Finding Pakistani flavored Karahi and Kabab’s in Riyadh sounds like a blessing to us. After reading some views online, we decided to give a try to Spices Village, a restaurant located in Olaya near Kingdom Tower. As you enter the restaurant, the environment looks very calm and peaceful. On weekends, it is almost filled with families but the place is always tidy and clean which makes it our priority to have dinner when we are craving for Desi food. Continue reading

21May/16

Sizzling dinner at Sizzler House

Few days back, we decided to try the food of Sizzler House in Riyadh as we read some good reviews about the restaurant. So, on last weekend after shopping, we went to Sizzler House on Tahlia Street but were disappointed as they told us that they are not taking orders but only buffet is available. Continue reading

19May/16

Pakistani Breakfast at Lazeez Restaurant

Living in a foreign land becomes more difficult if you cannot enjoy the food there. Living in Saudi Kingdom is not hard for us at least because we get enough flavorful Pakistani food here that complements our taste buds as well as our appetite. Few days back, we discovered a nice place for Pakistani breakfast and that is “Lazeez restaurant“. Lazeez Restaurant is located in Hai Al Wazarat (aka Hara) Riyadh. Continue reading

12May/16

Danube Home: A Great place to buy furniture

All the expats who come to Saudi Arabia, their first priority is to find an apartment or villa and settle down as quickly as possible to save the living cost of hotel apartments. To get settled, first of all they need to buy furniture for house. It is very difficult to find a furniture store that is economical especially when you are living in Riyadh. Continue reading

05May/16

Jeddah Shadows Hotel Suite Review

Last week, we had to visit Jeddah during weekdays. It was a business trip for two nights. For that reason, we wanted to book a hotel beforehand to avoid any inconvenience. As usual we browsed through Booking.com and we come across Jeddah Shadows Hotel Suite. We wanted a hotel near airport and office so that my husband does not have to travel a lot on taxi and we could save some time to travel around the city and explore Jeddah as we have not visited it before. So, we found Jeddah Shadows Hotel Suite at a perfect location, 15 minutes drive from airport to hotel and ten minutes drive from hotel to office. Plus, on the website the rating of the hotel is 8.4/10 which was very nice and pictures shown below will illustrate itself the look of the hotel. Continue reading

Is it legal to perform Umrah on Family Visit Visa?

When I first came to Saudi Arabia on family visit visa, I did not know at all if performing Umrah is legal or not on this visa. I didn’t knew even if this debate exists because we all know by default that performing Hajj on visit visa is illegal but no one ever mentioned anything about Umrah. So, we thought that it would be legal as we never heard any news about people being detained for performing Umrah on visit visa as we usually read in case of Hajj. Continue reading

Planning a weekend trip to Jubail? Here is the guide!!!

Saudi Arabia is usually believed to be a country with conservative atmosphere and lack of entertaining facilities, but if you are an enthusiast and want to explore the country, you can find so many places for entertainment. Expats usually get the vacations once a year to home country and it is not possible to take long time off from jobs in between for enjoyment. It is pretty much only the weekends you get to enjoy your time in the kingdom. So, if you love beaches and want to spend some relaxing time in coastal city, you can plan a weekend trip to Jubail. Continue reading